I’m gonna keep it easy for myself for Monday’s post and not post a zillion photos. Just a few from a few visits I made to Bolsa, a Vietnamese restaurant in Mira Mesa. I went to Bolsa once when I was in high school with my parents many moons ago… but never bothered to go back until recently when my dad was telling me about it again. It was like I totally forgot about it’s existence and I couldn’t even remember if I liked it or not. My dad insisted it was good though, so I convinced my co-workers to go here for lunch and I made a couple of more visits on my own. It’s now confirmed: I do like this place!
[egg rolls - $6.95]
I love these egg rolls because of the super extra crunchy wrapper. This angle kind of makes them look like chicken wing ends to me. Or am I just crazy?
I love munching of these wrapped with the mint and lettuce. I didn’t do that the first time I had them, but tried it later and found I preferred it that way. The mint gives it a little hint of fresh flavor paired in with the crunchy rolls. They have a meaty/veggie filling, just the right amount of each.
These are the sauces that are served with various dishes. On the far right is the dipping sauce for the egg rolls (it is yummy). I believe it’s the same sauce also for the noodle bowl below. Above that is this ginger sauce that’s given to you when you order the Chicken Rice Noodle Pho (it is heavenly).
[noodle bowl thing with grilled pork and grilled shrimp]
I don’t remember exactly what they call this dish since it wasn’t on the Bolsa online menu I found. This is the same dish that I love ordered at Pho Cow Cali across the street (except I usually get it with egg rolls instead of shrimp). I kind of think of this as an all-in-one-dish, as in, you get salad, appetizer and entree, all in one bowl! It has cold noodles on the bottom with shredded lettuce, cucumber, carrots, daikon, and peanuts. They also put scallions on here. Add the included sauce and viola – a really fresh, bright bowl of yumminess. The grilled pork here is pretty good (though I do still prefer it over at Pho Cow Cali). The grilled shrimp were very nicely done with just a tiny bit of char.
[chicken rice noodle soup - this is a photo of the large bowl ($7.50) - small bowl is $6.50]
This is a photo of Matt’s bowl of chicken rice noodle soup, but I later shared a bowl with Lauren. On that first visit, our waiter asked David and Matt (who got the same thing) if they wanted white or dark meat chicken and they requested dark. When I visited with Lauren, they didn’t ask me and we ended up with white meat. The white meat was actually incredibly tender and very good – but I still would have liked to get dark meat. Have to remember to ask for the future! The included ginger sauce makes the Pho extra tasty. I liked dropping in a spoonful every now and again for a nice kick of ginger in the soup. The broth was very nice – good flavor, not too mild and complemented the chicken and noodles pretty well.
I find the bowls to be huge – always have – I can never finished a bowl on my own so I think they’re good for sharing or for leftovers.
[pork banh mi - $4.25]
I went again one more time with Laura and we shared the egg rolls and these banh mi sandwiches. They have two available – pork and beef – and we did half and half and shared the sandwiches.
These are a little smaller than what I’m used to from Cali Baguette. The french bread is a bit thicker and not crunchy, but soft, almost more like an Italian bread. Those are also not jalapeno’s on the sandwich, but bell pepper slices (which I don’t like either).
[beef banh mi - $4.25]
These sandwiches came with the usual fixings – carrot, daikon, cilantro and the bell pepper. There didn’t seem to be any kind of spread on the bread – just plain. A very simple sandwich, but still pretty good. I probably wouldn’t order the banh mi’s from here again unless I really just wanted to eat egg rolls and something similar since I prefer banh mi’s from other places. But it’s a decent sandwich. I think a little spread would do it good and I’d prefer a roll with a little more crunch then this one, but the soft roll wasn’t terrible. Just different.
All in all I’d say that Bolsa is a pretty solid restaurant with a nice variety of offerings. The chicken pho with the ginger sauce is pretty killer and I imagine those egg rolls will keep me coming back. There’s plenty of things left to try and explore on the menu, too, giving me plenty of options for the future.
9225 Mira Mesa Blvd, Ste 118
San Diego, CA 92126
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